For a long time, the Internet has been a bastion of freedom and anonymity: one could say anything, do anything and look for everything one wanted. As the time goes on, however, we can see that this freedom is getting more and more compromised: governments of certain countries look to control the information their citizens have access to and what they can do and say online and impose surveillance. Hackers use the knowledge of someone’s physical location, IP address, and identity for their own nefarious and often greatly harmful purposes. Content you have access to is often restricted by your geographical location.
In order to restore your ability to use the Internet freely and without your activity being known to the government or identity thieves you, unfortunately, need tools. And one of the most universal, efficient, and easily accessible of them is VPN.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) extend your private network across a public network, giving you an opportunity to send and receive information across the public network as if it were a part of your own private network, with the accompanying security and ease of use.
Of course, VPNs can be different, and not all of them are equally helpful. Some don’t provide complete protection or negatively affect the overall speed of connection. However, well-organized ones, like hide.me VPN, fully deliver on what they promise – when you use them you may be sure your activity cannot be traced back to you, hackers are unable to find out your identity to try and steal it, and you can access any parts of the Internet irrespectively of what your government thinks about it.
There are other ways to achieve some or all of these goals besides VPN, but all of them have their downsides.
Anonymizers allow you to access most websites without revealing your identity and, sometimes, allow you to circumvent censorship imposed by the government. However, with free anonymizers you can never be sure that your activity isn’t being tracked, and their functionality is often severely limited all the same. For example, any activity requiring registration may be impossible or greatly complicated.
TOR and i2p can hide your identity and conceal your activity, but require considerable understanding of underlying procedures, don’t guarantee complete anonymity and, what most importantly,are incredibly, painfully slow – unacceptably so for those who are already used to high speeds provided by broadband connections.
Various browser extensions like Opera Turbo also provide an opportunity to circumvent censorship, but do nothing to hide your identity and don’t always work.
In other words, VPNs are not just another way of providing yourself with web anonymity, they are the only way to provide complete anonymity without the loss of speed and complete freedom of action. Of course, better VPN services are not free; but when your security is at stake, their rates can be hardly called high. Better safe than sorry – it is not VPN’s motto per se, but can easily be one.